Christine and Roy Pickler used to be perfect for playing the roles of Santa and Mrs. Claus each Christmas.
While their jovial personalities and Roy’s long white beard still fit the part, the Middlebury couple may need a couple pillows to offer convincing portrayals this next holiday season.
The Picklers, who spent much of the winter involved in the NBC reality TV show “The Biggest Loser,” have become local celebrities, but are not slowing down in their fitness routines.
While they may have auditioned to be on the show last fall on a whim, they took the opportunity seriously, lost large amounts of weight and have made big changes in their lifestyle.
Those change include diet and exercise, of course.
“We aren’t strangers anymore,” Roy said while waiting on his breakfast Friday at the Hilltop Restaurant west of Middlebury. “I don’t fade into the wallpaper.”
The couple ordered a veggie omelet with egg whites for breakfast, no toast.
Roy said he had enjoyed the fried fish that is featured Fridays at the Hilltop, but since they can’t eat fried food, the cook there has grilled the fish for him. That was good, too, he said.
Although Chris was voted off the show in the segment aired last week, she has many fans back here at home.
“I watch every week,” said a stranger who gave Chris a hug in the restaurant. “My heart was there for you every week,”
A second woman who approached Chris and hugged her said “I like your new look.”
A life changer
The changes have been dramatic. The Picklers are obviously more fit and trim and Chris has a touch of glamor after her Loser-sponsored “makeover” in recent weeks.
“We try to impress on everyone that we were given the opportunity,” Chris began. “It was never about the money; it changed our lives. I have been chubby since I was 8 years old.”
Now the couple is telling others about their change in life and trying to present a realistic body and weight.
“We wanted to make changes for the rest of our lives. We had to participate in the game portion (of “The Biggest Loser),” she said. “We will have to work for the rest of our lives fighting the food addiction we have, but we have the right tools to combat it. We need to survive. We’re going to find a balance.”
Roy said he spends four or five hours a day on Facebook trying to help people. The couple also participates in daily exercise workouts.
“I may be sore for the rest of my life,” Roy joked.